Fleming Showcase Q&A: submit your questions

17 February 2020

As part of our Fleming Showcase on 30 March 2020, we will welcome a panel of Fleming Prize winners, including Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall, Professor Adrian Whitehouse, and Sir John Beringer. This is your chance to submit questions and find out about their research, careers and scientific lives.

The Fleming Prize is awarded annually to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record within 12 years of receiving their PhD. Named after one of the founding members and first President of the Society, Sir Alexander Fleming FRS, winners have gone on to become renowned experts in their fields.

We are delighted that Sir John Beringer, winner in 1979; Professor Adrian Whitehouse, winner in 2005; and Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall winner of the Prize in 2009; will take part in a panel session, answering questions from the community collected in advance of the event.

This is a great opportunity to ask John, Adrian and Nicola anything about their research, careers and scientific lives, and we invite the community to submit questions for our panellists.

Submitted questions will be posed to the panel by members of our Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum and we will record the event as a resource to share with the community.

Send us your questions and take part in this important event in celebration of the Society’s 75th anniversary, as we bring together and empower communities that help shape the future of microbiology.

Fleming Prize winners’ panel

Sir John Beringer
John Beringer
© John Beringer

Sir John Beringer CBE is Emeritus Professor and former Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol. He was awarded the Fleming Prize in 1979 following his research into the Development of Rhizobium Genetics. He has a Diploma in Agriculture (1965), BSc in Microbiology and PhD in Rhizobium genetics, which was the main focus of his research at the John Innes Centre, where I was working when I was appointed as the Fleming Lecturer in 1979.

He left the John Innes institute in 1980 and moved away from research and much more into management, grants boards and providing scientific advice; the latter involving considerable amounts of his time establishing a UK regulatory framework for the release of GMOs. He was knighted in 2000 following his services to environmental safety. Various appointments at the University of Bristol, finishing with Pro Vice-Chancellor, allowed him time for a very large range of extracurricular activities, which continued after he retired in 2005.

Professor Adrian Whitehouse 
Adrian Whitehouse
© Adrian Whitehouse

Adrian Whitehouse is Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Leeds. His lab aims to understand how viruses cause cancer and develop novel antiviral strategies to prevent infection and tumourigenesis – focusing on the study of the molecular biology of the two most recently discovered human tumour viruses. He was awarded the Fleming Prize following his research into understanding the latent-lytic switch in gamma-2 herpesviruses.


Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall
Nicola Stanley-Wall
© Nicola Stanley-Wall

Nicola Stanley-Wall is Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Head of the Division of Molecular Microbiology at the University of Dundee. Her lab works on using molecular biology to understand the signalling processes that control multicellular behaviours exhibited by bacteria. In particular, her lab is interested in the genetic components that control biofilm formation by the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. She was awarded the Fleming Prize in recognition of her outstanding research on the molecular basis of biofilm formation.

ECM Forum interviewers

  • Nicky O’Boyle is currently employed as a Postdoc at the University of Glasgow. He has a keen interest in bacterial genetics and physiology in the context of host-pathogen interactions. His current project employs global sequencing technologies to better understand the processes which underpin the occupation of distinct niches by pathogenic E. coli.
  • Justine Rudkin is a Postdoctoral researcher at The University of Oxford studying host-pathogen co-evolution. She is particularly interested in the development of antimicrobial resistance and its impact on bacterial virulence and pathogenicity. AMR makes bacterial infections harder to treat, but it also alters fundamental bacterial traits such as protein expression, cell wall structuring, and DNA replication; what impact do these changes have on how bacteria causes infections? 

The Fleming Showcase has been organised by a committee of past Fleming Prize winners, chaired by Sir Paul Nurse FRS who will also be speaking at the event. Other speakers include Luke Alphey, Bonnie Bassler, Stirling Churchman, Eddie Holmes, Grant Jensen, Mark Pallen and Liz Sockett. The event will be hosted by academic, writer and broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts.

Find out more about other events and activities during our 75th anniversary year – dedicated to demonstrating the impact of microbiologists’ past, present and future. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates using the hashtag #MicrobioSoc75th.